Drainage problems have created muddy conditions at the Mountainside Baseball Field.

By Kelly Nicholaides
for Montclair Local

Improvements planned for Mountainside Park will alleviate swampy conditions that occur after rain.  

In November, the Montclair Parks Recreation and Cultural Affairs Advisory Board made the recommendation of a new drainage system and more for the baseball field at Upper Mountain Avenue after the group toured 16 parks to assess needs.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Renée Baskerville, who is on the Montclair Parks Recreation and Cultural Affairs Advisory Board, took a tour of the township’s parks before the recommendations were made.

“Right now it’s like having baseball games in water down there,” Baskerville said. “The field has uneven surfaces that could be dangerous for young athletes. We toured Mountainside Park and made the recommendation for improvements. It’s a stop gap makeshift field that was well overdue for renovation for our youth athletic recreational groups to enjoy.”

The Montclair Council unanimously approved $592,754 in contracts for improvements to the baseball field at Mountainside Park at a Dec. 4 meeting. A $568,106 contract was awarded to Let it Grow, Inc. of River Edge, the lowest responsible bidder, to transform the baseball facility portion of the park. Suburban Consulting Engineers, Inc. of Flanders will oversee the construction, at a cost of $24,648 for one year. The contracts’ funding comes from the 2018 Capital Budget.

Improvements to the baseball field at Mountainside Park will include drainage and grading improvements, new batters cage, additional bleachers, infield synthetic turf, irrigation system, and pathway modifications, said Katya Wowk, Montclair Communications Director.

The Montclair Baseball and Softball Club uses the field. The non-profit organization founded in 1997 manages programs in which more than 1,000 Montclair residents participate each year. The programs include nine travel baseball teams, four travel softball teams, T-Ball, fall baseball and softball teams and numerous instructional clinics, according to the club’s website.

“People who live near it use it all the time and games are always scheduled there, so it’s important that we look at all our parks and determine where we need improvements,” Baskerville said.

The Advisory Board priority classifications for park needs included urgent, secondary or not pressing. Recommendations for other areas of Mountainside Park include tennis court resurfacing, shade canopies for the playground, playground grading and resurfacing, bench replacement, and equipment storage building repainting.

Other parks-improvement recommendations are as follows:

  • Stair and railing replacement at Bonsal Wildlife Preserve,
  • Landscape barrier and playground upgrade for Canterbury Park,
  • Clearing of obstructive trees from paths at Carey’s Woods,
  • Drainage work at Edgemont Memorial Park,
  • Signage, slate repair and tree re-planting at Crane Park,
  • Bathroom and playground upgrades at Essex,
  • Landscaping hedges and new baseball field netting at George Washington field,
  • Plantings for a pollinator garden at Green Garden Park,
  • Tree trimming, path clearing, basketball court resurfacing, and bench upgrades at Nishuane Park,
  • Bridge repair at Rand Park,
  • Replacement of trash receptacle and bench at Sunset Park and at Porter Park,
  • Playground maintenance, leaf and debris removal, and playground upgrades at Tuers Park, Path repair, bench replacement and pollinator garden maintenance at Watchung Park,

And lighting upgrade and erosion mitigation for Yantacaw Brook Park.